Jenna's Guide to Auditions

Everything you need to know about auditions, from a member's perspective!

JennaAlchevsky2013_YEAllentown_mellophone.jpgCadet mellophone player Jenna Alchevsky (right) wrote up a great list of bullet points for anyone considering attending a Cadets audition camp this year. If you have any more questions, post them below and we'll be sure to add them in!

Who are we and what do we do?
• Oldest drum corps in country, est.1934
• 10-time world champs
• 150 members
• No woodwinds in drum corps (whoa!)
• Tour the country, traveling 15,000+ miles from June to mid-August

What is summer like?
• State-to-state travel, sleeping in high schools along the way
• Rehearse during the day, perform at night, travel after shows (usually to a different state)
• Typical schedule: Visual block (2.5-3 hrs), lunch 30-45 min), sectional (2-2.5 hrs), 15-min break, ensemble (1.5-2 hrs), show prep after ensemble (1.5-2 hrs), travel to show, warm up, perform, pack up, travel to next housing site
• We get to live like rock stars!!!


• About $3,500 broken down into a series of fees including spring training, tour and camps
• They do offer an early incentive to reduce costs!!! The early bird gets the worm, and by gets the worm, I mean pays less money. About 15% off. 
Do not let money stop you… sponsorships and scholarships are available. THERE ARE ALWAYS WAYS TO GET MONEY.
• Currently, they are piecing together a big scholarship campaign (in the works).


What to expect on audition weekend
• Woodstown, NJ on Friday, admin arrives
• The registration booth is where you will check in; if you haven't already done so, you can take care of camp fees there.
• Name badge provided
• You will receive paperwork (medical history, financial stuff, etc.)
• Yellow signs will direct you everywhere you need to go. They will be your new best friends.
• There will be brass instruments there. Mellophones are on back order, and we may be low on trumpets, so bring your own instrument/equipment if you can!
• Sleep in gym of high school
• We'll eat one meal after rehearsal Friday night, four meals on Saturday, and breakfast and snack on Sunday, all included.
• You will not need money for food, but you may need it for camp fees, registration fees, and some new Cadets swag!!
• We shower in locker rooms, so bring shower supplies.
• Remember, if you are flying: 3 oz. max for shampoo, etc. on planes
• Audition numbers vary from year to year; total to audition this year is around 250, which is high for The Cadets normally!


The hornline
• We usually march 24 trumpets and baritones (8 on first, 8 on second, 8 on third), 16 mellos (8 on first, 8 on second) and 16 tubas (80 brass overall).
• High brass is the same number as low brass; this makes it easier for Jeff to write drill.

Goals for Audition Weekend
• Get to know the organization, staff, etc.
• Technique
     - breathing, buzzing, flexibility, tonguing, volume extension
     - we will learn some chorales and some extra tunes (Rocky Point, Philip Bliss)
     - brass staff will take us through the music in sectionals
     - may learn some show music, depending on what is available
• Friday: hand out instruments, make sure everyone has music, basic technique, exercises and arc procedures
- If you are a French horn or trombone player, feel free to audition on those instruments, BUT you will also have to play something on mello or baritone, respectively.
• Saturday starts auditions. It will be just you and Gino in a room. There will be a very short interview, he will hear you play, and you will go from there.


Audition material?
• More details to come soon. If you want to be the first to know, fill out this quick info request form.
• Exercises from packet
• 1-2.5 minute solo/etude of your choosing - something lyrical and technical
• Gino will try to get through everyone on Saturday and will allow quicker re-auditions on Sunday if you were dissatisfied with your performance.

"I cant be there on Audition Weekend!! Oh no!!"
• Attendance is extremely important, but if you have a schedule conflict and absolutely can't make it, you can send in a video audition of you playing and doing some basic marching technique at fast and slow tempos. More info to come on video auditions. (See details for marching audition below.)
• There are not as many winter camps this year, so by missing camp, you are missing a LOT. They did this for financial reasons, to make it easier on members.

trumpetline_2013.jpgVisual Audition (right, right, right-left-right...)
• It's laid back; they try to make it as comfortable as possible because everyone is nervous.
• They are mainly looking for how quickly you can adapt and learn.
• They know that everyone will not have perfect Cadets technique. You do not need to do a right-foot step-off, and you don’t have to use straight-leg technique, although they may try to adjust you.
• It's more about your ability to show improvement and apply changes than raw talent.
• You will be asked to march at about 60 bpm and about 180-190 bpm (this is sometimes on the low scale of what we do!) forwards, backwards and slides, along with a surprise exercise or two.

Normal fears and concerns
• #1 thing: “I am not good enough!!”
• If you get to camp, you are at least giving yourself a shot… you are already better than 75% of people.
• “YOU CAN DO THIS.” The fact that you're interested shows that you care enough to dedicate yourself. Take care of money and travel info NOW!!
• #2 thing: Money. It is expensive, but it is no more expensive than other corps that do the same tour we do. Food and gas for a 3-month tour are expensive; member fees only cover about a quarter to a third of what we need. Make some sacrifices, be smart about your money, and try to get sponsors. Being reactive will not help you; be proactive! It’s possible!!
• You can march if school doesn’t let out till after spring training starts. We start mid-May. We DO have high schoolers in the corps. The Cadets can send a letter to your school's administration; usually you can test out of your classes early. Depending on school’s rules, you may need to miss some of spring training. You can go home for graduation (not prom!!). About a quarter of members have this issue; Cadets admin will help you work it out with your school.


Thoughts from me
• If you haven't yet, "Request more 2014 info" at
• Fees put you on the radar; you are on all lists for communication. Audition numbers are based on registration. REGISTER EARLY so all logistics can be taken care of.
• If you can't put down the money now but you will have the money at camp, pay registration and audition packet fee FIRST.
• Get travel arrangements lined up. RSVP ON CORPS DATA!!! It is on your “To-Do” list in corpsdata. Even if you are not coming, please RSVP, "No."
• Excellence on the field correlates to excellence off the field.
• Practice, practice, practice!!! Your preparation will show through in your audition. Everyone will make mistakes this weekend, but the more you prepare, the better you will do and the less nervous you will be.
• If you have a question, ASK. We vets are here to help, as are Patrick and Melissa. You can get in touch with admin via email and phone, and contact any of us vets on Facebook (PS - I like answering questions!).

Answers to questions from previous webinar listeners
drum_2013_look_crop2.jpg• If you send in an audition tape for missing first camp, you will have to re-audition for the next camp. But it depends on the quality of the audition; Gino has been known to give spots based on video auditions before he sees you in person.
• 1,2,3 system in both music and visual auditions: They try not to cut anyone. You will be rated a 1, 2 or 3, 1 being the highest. This is all based on your audition and your taking care of logistics (money, being prepared for camps, etc). 1 means you are in, 2 means you have work to do, 3 means it will be an "uphill battle." It is up to you if you want to come to next camp; if you keep working for a spot and continue to improve, anything is possible!!!!
• You will know by the end of Audition Weekend exactly where you stand.
• DCI ends the second weekend of August, and we have a banquet on Sunday morning.
• If you want to go to camp just for the experience, you do not have to audition (although it is in your best interest to audition anyway. It's great extra one-on-one instruction.).
• Video auditions need to have ALL parts of the regular audition (TBA exercises, your selected piece, visual audition).
• The odds of someone with no corps experience receiving a 1 or 2? Very possible!!! We like experience, but it is not a necessity. (I had no experience, and I marched this year.)
• We will have to play all the exercises during the audition.
• If you have questions, email Melissa Barlow ( or 610-821-0345 ext. 115) or Rich Hammond ( or 610-821-0345 ext. 119). They’re friendly, I promise!!

We hope to meet you in November!

The 2013 Cadets Mellophone Line ("The Golden Section")


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